Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Serves 4
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Thai bird chiles or 1/2 serrano chile, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2/3 pound beef sirloin or flank steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 ripe pineapple (about 1/2 cup), cut into bite-sized slices about 1/4-inch thick (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Asian basil leaves, cut in half
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 cups watercress, washed, picked over, and torn into bite-sized sprigs
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut into thin wedges
  • Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and chiles in a large bowl. Set aside.

  • Place the oyster sauce, soy sauce and beef in a medium bowl and toss to coat the meat evenly.

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 5 seconds. Add the beef and quickly stir-fry it until just charred on the edges, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add to the bowl with the lime sauce.

  • Add the pineapple slices, if using, Asian basil and red onion to the beef mixture. Spread the watercress and tomatoes in an attractive manner on a serving platter. Arrange the beef mixture and all its juices on the watercress and serve immediately (if desired, with a warm baguette or steamed rice to soak up the juices).

  • Note: Another way of presenting bo luc lac is to omit the lime dressing completely and serve the beef with a dipping salt mixture made with 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice.

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